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Volume 20 No. 41
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Tour viewership recedes after big 2012

The PGA Tour saw viewership declines across its network partners in 2013, offsetting major gains from the year before.

CBS’s 18-tournament schedule in 2013 saw an 11 percent drop in audience year-over-year, from an average of 2.745 million viewers to 2.439 million for its weekend broadcasts.

NBC’s 12-tournament schedule had similar declines. Its average weekend viewership of 2.867 million was down 16 percent for the season.

These numbers do not include majors.

The viewership losses cut into some handsome increases the year before, when CBS was up 20.2 percent and NBC was up 45 percent, but the 2013 numbers still represented an increase over 2011.

Ty Votaw, the tour’s executive vice president for communications and international affairs, said bad weather played a significant role in viewership this year.

Thirteen tournaments dealt with weather delays and three of the tour’s stronger events — the Farmers Insurance Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational and BMW Championship — finished on Mondays. Three others — the Shell Houston Open, Zurich Classic and Greenbrier Classic — were forced off network coverage and moved to Golf Channel for late Sunday finishes because of weather.

The Northern Trust Open and John Deere Classic finished on Golf Channel because of playoffs that made the telecast run long.

“We still feel very good about what we delivered to our television partners,” Votaw said. “The bar was set pretty high from the year before.”

Votaw also noted that digital traffic on experienced an 8 percent increase during the 2013 season.

— Michael Smith